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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 162 pages of information about A Canadian Heroine, Volume 1.

Next morning when Maurice came, he was surprised to find Mrs. Costello up, and looking as usual.  Lucia’s uneasiness had almost melted away in the daylight; she was more gentle and attentive than usual to her mother, but had persuaded herself that with her care, and, above all, with her sympathy, when the promised “long story” should be told, all would come right.  She had still, however, enough need of sympathy to make her manner to Maurice such as he liked best.  He went away a second time very happy, thinking, “She is but a child.  If that fellow were but gone she would soon forget him, and be herself again.”

But, alas! “that fellow” showed no intention of going.  He came to the Cottage an hour or two later, not however alone, but with Mrs. Bellairs and Bella.  The former came to see Mrs. Costello, the latter had affairs of her own with Lucia.  Mr. Percy, for once, was decidedly de trop, but after awhile the two girls slipped away and shut themselves up in Lucia’s bedroom.  The moment the door was closed, Bella burst into a torrent of talk.

“Oh! my dear, I was determined to come to you this morning, but I dare say it was trouble thrown away.  Have you any attention to spare from your own affairs for your neighbours?”

“Plenty.  How did you enjoy yourself last night?”

“You shall hear.  It was a dull enough evening till the very end.  There was Maurice looking as black as thunder at May Anderson; and Magdalen Scott and Harry—­not flirting, they have not sense enough for that—­but making themselves ridiculous; and everybody else as usual.”

“Why was Maurice looking black at May?”

“Because she was talking about you.  It’s not safe for anybody to talk about you before Maurice, I can tell you.  But I don’t want to talk about them, but about myself.  Do you know what has happened?”

“How should I till you tell me?”

“Well, you might guess; but, I suppose, since Mr. Percy came, he has prevented you from seeing anything beyond himself.”

“Don’t be absurd, Bella; I can always see you, at any rate.”

“And yet you can’t guess?  Well, then, my dear, I have altered my mind.”

“What about?”

“Only yesterday I meant to be an old maid, and now I don’t.”

Lucia clapped her hands.  “Oh, Bella! is it Doctor Morton?”

“I suppose so.  You see it would be more convenient for me in some ways to be married; Elise and William might get tired of too much of my society, and no doubt it will suit him very well to have a house rent-free and a little money besides.”

“Don’t, Bella, you are incorrigible.  I should think you might leave off joking now.”

“Not I, I assure you.  I leave the sentimental side of the question to you and Mr. Percy; though, to tell you the truth, I think you would be much better off in that respect with Maurice, and his highflown notions, which Elise calls chivalrous.”

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